Social networks and education: Interactivity and pedagogical creativity

Every social network is a global communication digital platform that connects a large number of users , becoming practically a new social dimension for those who use some of these technologies , some as established as Facebook or the application for creation and distribution of TikTok short videos, which allows the use of filters, visual effects and soundtrack by its users, and which in just three years has become one of the networks s most powerful social networks (RRSS) among the population that is of compulsory school age . So that , despite the misgivings that can generate , also implies an educational potential significant based in part not only in the capacity of this and other RRSS to motivate students.   


RRSS and education 

Before the covid-19 pandemic forced us to concentrate many of our social interactions in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), social networks already occupied a more than considerable place in our lives. Either under the shadow of the social distance recommended by the health authorities to slow the spread of the virus or due to the sheer inertia of the use of these technologies, it  is estimated that only in 2020 87% of Spanish Internet users between 16 and 65 years of age used of the RRSS , being 21% of these young users between 16 and 24 years old . A success that probably has a lot to do with at least two of the specificities of these technologies, and that we list below: 

  • All r ed s ocial implies a  network in greater or lesser degree of  interaction  mutual and sometimes simultaneously , capable of generating an effective and parallel communication space to the face . 
  • For some time now, RRSS have gone from being mere communication channels to also being  tools for the  creation  of content by their users , in a relatively novel function that has given birth to new formats, generally  audiovisual , arising from the different modes of use made by part of  Youtubers , TikTokers or Instagramers , among many others.  

Curiously, it has been precisely the second of these two qualities of the RRSS that right now occupies a greater space in how these technologies are used, destined for the most part to the entertainment derived from the consumption of audiovisual content. A purely recreational objective that is not too far from the second largest cause of use of social networks, which considers them as tools for interaction between users, but which in any case implies a possible introduction into the classroom that contemplates their pedagogical potential from both perspectives. 

Possible pedagogical applications 

The proliferation of RRSS and, above all, the tremendous expansion of its use, especially by the younger sectors of society, makes many of your students in active participants of est os space s social is and digitalis . If we focus on the meteoric boom in the use of TikTok in the last year , space has gone from being used by 14% of RRSS users in 2019 to 53% in 2020, opening the door to its fruitful use in the classroom as a revitalization tool. But what pedagogical application to  Can it be extracted from this and other RRSS? 

  • Allows n the exchange of content created by users themselves, reinforcing the work  collaborative  and teamwork among students, and promoting their social skills and netiquette, as well as allowing the creation of digital communities organized around one or more themes to work. To achieve this, well-known tools such as Facebook or Twitter can be very useful, although we recommend that before introducing them in the classroom you give some basic lessons in  cybersecurity  and  digital literacy  to your students. 
  • Derived from the previous point, its use at a global level within the educational centers in which it is implemented allows establishing a direct link between the families of the students and the school, which can thus share some of the work done by the students . Chats (and chatbots ) or even web pages for private use for families and the school team are good tools to ensure that communication between one another is fluid and productive. 
  • Depending on the specificities of each r ed s ocial,  they can be used for the creation of  digital stories  or audiovisual works , to name just two of the many possibilities available through the RRSS. These particularities allow working on the subjects in which they are applied in one direction or another but always driven by the degree of  motivation  and / or significant learning that usually accompanies this type of creations, especially if they have been made through RRSS such as YouTube or, thank you to its renewed popularity among the youngest, the aforementioned TikTok. 

Do you use the RRSS in your classes? Which of these r edes adapt n more and better to your needs as teachers? Share your experiences with us and this post with all your contacts.